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Don't mock deputies' proposals

By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)

Updated: 2015-03-04 08:06:34


In my 10-year career as a reporter, no news event has started in such a timely manner as the annual two sessions: the plenary meeting of the top political consultative body always opens at 3 pm on March 3, and the full session of the top legislature starts at 9 am sharp on March 5.

Don't mock deputies' proposals
The agenda may become routine for a veteran reporter, but every year there are amusing moments when you hear or read some funny suggestions or proposals at the sessions.

For example, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference suggested last year that the country should not encourage rural students to go to college as once they enter the city to receive college education, they would never come back to their village hometowns.

In 2013, a National People's Congress deputy also proposed that the country should take a certain amount from people's salary for charitable uses, "like taking a tax".

To tired reporters who get up at 6 am and sleep at midnight every day during the two sessions, hearing such statements at dull and crowded conference rooms always refreshes them.

Within a few minutes such statements spread online and netizens start to mock them. At the end of each year's meetings, some media organizations have a collection of such absurd statements to amuse the readers.

Such media attention on these funny statements has put pressure on NPC deputies and CPPCC members to be more careful about what they say and be more responsible about their proposals.

However, such media coverage, particularly those that ignore the context but only highlight a few sentences, have also deterred a number of deputies and members from speaking up.

There are about 5,000 NPC deputies and CPPCC members at the two sessions who come from all sectors of life, different areas of the country, with distinctively different education and cultural backgrounds. Some of them even have difficulties speaking Mandarin.

The purpose of having the annual two sessions is to make these people's voices heard by the top decision-makers. To some extent, the two sessions serve as a bridge between the central leadership and the ordinary people.

I believe the one who suggested rural students not go to college was concerned about the widening gap between urban and rural areas, and the one who said everyone must pay charitable fees considered society lacks awareness of charities. Aren't these serious concerns?

And some reporters and netizens may misunderstand what the deputies and members say due to their ignorance and lack of professional knowledge.

Yesterday, I saw many micro blog posts that made fun of a proposal from the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang, a non-Communist party in China, which suggests parents should not be allowed to divorce if their child is younger than 10 years old. "It's an infringement upon human rights. Why can't people divorce?" read many online posts.

But what the proposal actually says is that uncontested divorces should not be allowed, but parents can still go to court for divorce. Going to court is much more troublesome, which would make parents think twice instead of making a rush decision.

And what the deputies and members say is far from becoming a compulsory regulation. According to Chinese laws, CPPCC members can only make proposals that serve as advice to the decision-makers, but are not legally binding. Motions from NPC deputies go through very complicated and strict review and deliberation procedures before becoming law.

So please be tolerant of such absurd statements from the two sessions. As long as they're what these deputies and members really want to say, then let them make their voices heard. Don't mock them.

Contact the writer at zhuzhe@chinadaily.com.cn.